How the Cauvery River dispute has started :-

  • The sacred river of South India Cauvery, that rises in Coorg (Karnataka) and flows into the eastern ghats of Tamil Nadu. The Cauvery water dispute started in the year 1892 under British rule.With such complicated geographical location, the dispute has been unresolved until the date and has become the longest-running water war in the world.
  • The Cauvery dispute started in the year 1892, between the Madras Presidency and the Princely state of Mysore when they had to come to terms with dividing the river water between the two states.
  • Under British rule, Madras has developed agricultural practices such as paddy irrigation system which requires a high amount of stagnant water for crops such as rice. On the other hand, Mysore adopted water conservative irrigation practices for crops like maize and pulses.
  • Listed as one of the largest dams in India, Mettur dam of Tamil Nadu was constructed in the year 1934 on the Cauvery river to securely suffice water demands of the people in Tamil Nadu contains a large capacity of water which is over 80 TMC.

The present situation :-

  • As a solution, a peace treaty was signed in 1956 after all the bilateral talks between governments of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. With Cauvery having larger basin area in Karnataka, it gives the state an upper hand presuming population of Karnataka is much more than Tamil Nadu.
  • With time, Karnataka’s population grew exponentially especially in cities like Mysore and Bangalore which is one of the IT hubs in India. They increasingly became more dependent on Cauvery source of water which makes the situation even more difficult.
  • One possible way out could be Tamil Nadu getting a significantly larger share of water with Cauvery being the ultimate source of water in the state, and Karnataka having many other water sources such as Krishna river to depend upon. This questions the poor water investments by Karnataka government which failed to utilize Krishna river judiciously.
  • The surprising side of the story is that the justice courts and government has been ignoring a very important point of discussion that focussed on the number of rain showers the states receive annually. Weather reports suggest that with alterations in the rainfall patterns due to global warming, south-west monsoons are badly affected with Karnataka getting adversely affected making it a drought-prone area. Tamil Nadu remains safe with frequent showers during winters due to North Eastern monsoons.
  • Presently, the Supreme Court has now requested Karnataka Government to release 12,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu which marked a prominent progress in the Cauvery Water War running since ages as Karnataka was demanded the release of 15,000 cusecs previously.
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Looking at the violence in Bangalore over Cauvery water war, Washington published an article which went viral in no time. The article came as a wake-up call for the world where a time will come in future where people will aggressively riot and raise debates over water shortage problems. In another 10-15 years, we can expect a violent civil war between many more states of India fighting over the issue of water shortage.

This comes as a reality check for which we must take political, economic and social measures to avoid such disputes in future. Growing more trees, cleaning up the existing water bodies and avoiding wastage of water, installing proper water channels etc are some of the simple approaches the central government must focus on.

Afterwords:- What is your opinion on this topic? Express your thoughts in the comment section below.

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